I read the above with caution. The reason for this is that during the past few months I have written to many local hospitals. I used the freedom of information requests to find out the true cost of Healthcare Holidayers!
I’ve not had all of the replies back, it is well over the date in which they’re meant to respond but I can let that go.
The overwhelming response to the question of “How many non UK or EU (covered by EHIC) patients have you treated in the past 3 financial years” was We Do Not Request, Record Or Ask For This Information !!!!
So the true cost of Health Tourism is realistically a guess. Only a few people gave voluntarily (I assume) details of their insurers and invoices sent were paid.
A few others were sent invoices but did not pay the funds requested. Why & how the Department of Health can now give these figures perplexes me.
A) Do the hospitals ask for the information but it is so confidential only the Government is privy to it;
B) It is a completely made up figure used in an attempt to con the British Taxpayer into thinking they are clamping down on those from others Countries using our NHS resources.
I personally feel it is the latter and this yet another ploy to hoodwink people. Obviously in a genuine accident or totally unexpected emergency (such as appendicitis) the person would be treated for their illness without having to show their insurance details, well not at the booking in stage because it would go against every ethic a Dr or Nurse upholds. We as decent human beings would not want someone to be left without medical care in a life or death situation.
I won’t hold my breath on this latest missive from the jokers on the Green Benches because it’s not likely to happen.
Politicians are so unlikely to sort this out anytime soon as they will have to squander a few billion or so on failed computer systems to manage this one change.
So think on folks it is yet another “Des Lynam Announcement” by that I mean the talk is all good but can they play the game to the level they speak of?
Watch out for the Usual Suspects over the next 18months and beware of the snake oil they sell because it never ever does what they say it will!